Commission candidates respond to final Bulletin questionPublished 6:48pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The county has in the past worked with its towns on joint ventures such as water. Do you propose continuing work on a countywide water system and what would be your suggestions on how to accomplish a joint system? What other services would you like to see combined, if any?
EMILY BARTLETT: (D)
The three townships of Columbus, Tryon and Saluda took the bull by the horns this past summer, signing an agreement that would allow water to flow back and forth from town to town as the need arises. The townships continue to discuss future water improvements and the potential of a water authority. All three townships are to be applauded for preparing for a future that might include the possibility of giving up control of their water resources.
While one township sees benefit in maintaining control of it’s water sources and recognizes the loss of that revenue would have a detrimental effect, the math countywide seems to point to a countywide system being a more affordable option: an increase in users makes the price go down for all participants by spreading the burden over a larger field.
This will be an expensive, complicated and lengthy endeavor as some townships carry larger debt burdens with their water/sewer systems, which will need to be addressed. An additional concern is to make sure that the water that flows through Polk County remains in the control of Polk County and not those counties north, west and south of us that are seeing an increase in growth and whose water demands continue to rise.
Focus on water in our county needs to be viewed in terms of need and it’s impact on economic growth and going forward every project in the county needs to include water as a consideration. I would encourage the talks to continue and perhaps become an ad hoc committee of either the planning board or the Economic Development and Tourism Commission. Polk County needs to have a plan in place before the State potentially requires action at some point in the future.